Candies & Truffles
I never had the traditional pumpkin or pecan pie for Thanksgiving dessert when I was growing up. To this day, I won’t touch a pumpkin pie. If pecan pie is my only option, I might indulge, but I don’t have the same affinity for it as most people. These pecan pie truffles, however, are another story. You can’t keep me out of my stash of them. I made mine with bourbon so that they would keep at room temperature (I’ll be shipping some to a special someone and serving them at my holiday party this year).
Recipe Substitution: If you don’t want to use bourbon in this recipe, you can use coconut or almond milk. If you do, be sure to refrigerate the truffles until serving.
Pecan Pie Truffles
Adapted from VegNews via Growing Up Veg
Makes 2 dozen truffles
- 2 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans (more for garnish, if desired)
- 1 c. graham cracker crumbs (~1 sleeve of Keebler graham crackers)
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbp. maple syrup
- 1/3 c. bourbon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 12-18 oz. dark chocolate candy melts
Place graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, salt, maple syrup, bourbon and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse until well mixed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With a small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon, portion pecan mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter and place onto prepared baking sheet. Roll each ball between palms to shape slightly.
Freeze for 2 hours.
Melt candy melts in microwave. Using two forks, dip each truffle in candy melts. Allow excess to drip off before returning to baking sheet to set. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.
Allow to set in fridge/freezer 2 hours before serving.
Store in an airtight container. Pecan pie truffles are fine at room temperature but I recommend storing them in the freezer if not serving within a few days.
I really enjoy making various candies during the holiday season because they keep so well. I can make the candy in advance and freeze it. I can give it away, and know that the recipients can store it for a while or freeze it if they are experiencing a sugar overload.
Of all the candies I’ve made, fudge (along with bark) ranks up there as one of the easiest and fastest to make. I’ve made chocolate fudge in the past, but this particular recipe highlights dark dark chocolate, one of my favorites. For some extra holiday pizzazz, I filled cookie cutters with fudge and individually packaged the fudge, instead of making a pan and cutting it into square. I’ll be mailing these goodies in holiday care packages and giving them as favors at a holiday party, but if you have kids, this would also make a cute stocking stuffer.
Thanks again to Meal Planning Magic for hosting the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats. Head over to her blog, or check out the linky at the bottom of this post, for more ideas for your holiday baking.
Dark Chocolate Fudge
Adapted from Taste & See That the Lord is Good via Chocolate and Carrots
Makes an 8×8 in. pan (or 8-10 2 in. cookie cutters worth)
- 3 c. good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 14 oz. can condensed milk
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- sprinkles (optional)
Line an 8×8 inch pan or Pyrex with parchment paper and set aside.
In a double broiler, melt chocolate chips and condensed milk. Stir regularly until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out with a spatula or knife. Top with sprinkles, if desired.
Refrigerate until set.
Fudge in Cookie Cutters: Wrap the bottom of each cookie cutter in aluminum oil and set on a baking sheet before filling. Once set, remove the foil and package.
Freeze: To freeze fudge in pan, wrap tightly in saran wrap. To freeze fudge in cookie cutters, wrap or package each cookie cutter individually. Then seal in an airtight container.
It’s the final week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas and I hope that this series of posts gave you some inspiration for your holiday care packages, gifts, parties, and entertaining. I really enjoyed trying out a whole bunch of new recipes and getting the opportunity to remake (and blog!) some tasty recipes from the past. Thanks to Meal Planning Magic for hosting this event – I look forward to participating again next year!
If you missed any of the previous weeks of Christmas treats, check them out:
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (Mix)
New York Style Crumb Cake
Brown Sugar, Pecan & Kahlua Baked Brie
Lemon Cranberry Cake
Cafe Chocolate Cherry Bites (Cookies)
In the above photo, I used 1/4 c. slivered almonds and whole dried cherries. While I enjoyed it, next time I will chop the almonds and cherries and probably add a bit more. I especially loved the tart bite of cherries and wanted more of that!
Cherry Almond Bark
By Books n’ Cooks
Makes a 9×9 in. pan
- 12 oz. chocolate, chopped (I prefer semisweet or bittersweet or a combination of the two, but you can certainly use white chocolate if that’s your favorite)
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted (chop if desired)
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. dried cherries, whole or chopped
Line a 9×9 in. pan with parchment paper.
In a microwave safe bowl (or a double broiler), heat chocolate at 30-45 second intervals, stirring and heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and dried cherries. Refrigerate until set. Break into pieces with a sharp knife.
It’s the 9th week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. I can’t believe it’s so close to Christmas! Where has this year gone?
Unlike several of the recipes I’ve made this year (cinnamon sugar pretzels; pecan, kahlua, and brown sugar baked brie; salted caramel hot chocolate mix; and snickerdoodles), this week’s recipe isn’t a new one for me. I’ve made these bourbon balls a couple of times in the past but it was either before this blog existed, or the candies never survived to be photographed. They’re incredibly rich and if you ask my coworkers, it’s hard to have just one.
Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 89 (p 80)
Makes ~4 dozen
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. bourbon (I used Jim Bean)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 8 oz. pecans, toasted and cooled
- 8 oz. plain pound cake (I used store-bought but you can use fresh if you have it on hand)
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
Make the Ganache: In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream barely to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon and vanilla. Sprinkle chocolate over hot cream mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
While chocolate is melting, place pecans in a food processor, pulsing until coarsely chopped. Add pound cake and pulse until pecans and pound cake are finely chopped.
Whisk chocolate into cream until mixture is smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour in chocolate. When pecans, pound cake, and chocolate are thoroughly combined, pour into a bowl and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Make the Bourbon Balls: Just before removing ganache from fridge, line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, or set mini cupcake liners on a baking sheet (or serving dish).
Sift together cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar. Place in a shallow bowl or plate.
Remove ganache from fridge. Using a mini ice cream scoop or two teaspoons, scoop out a tablespoon of mixture. Roll in between your palms to form a ball. Roll in cocoa-sugar mixture and place on prepared baking sheet or in a cupcake liner. Continue until finished with the ganache. (If mixture gets too soft to work with, refrigerate again until firm).
Refrigerate bourbon balls until firm, about 2 hours.
Store: Bourbon balls are best stored in a cool place (fridge or at room temp if it’s not too warm) so that they retain their shape.
Last week, I made the world’s most expensive salad. As I was getting the balsamic vinegar from my cabinet, a glass spice jar fell, and hit the stove top in just the wrong spot. It cracked the glass top, making two burners unusable. Now I’m afraid use the stove or oven at all. All it’ll take is a little water to slip through that crack and I’ll end up electrocuting myself.
The new stove is supposed to arrive this coming Saturday, putting a little bit of a cramp in my Veteran’s weekend baking plans. I had planned to knock out my holiday care packages, sending them early because of our upcoming move. Lucky for me that I had at least one no-bake item on my list – these pretzel s’mores that I discovered through Pinterest. Not only were the s’mores easy to make, they’ve got that amazing salty-sweet combo that I love. Fingers crossed that the recipients of my care packages enjoy them as much as I did!
Looking for more holiday treats? Head over to Meal Planning Magic to see what else bloggers made to celebrate the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.
Inspired by Love From the Oven
Makes ~3 dozen pretzel s’mores
- 13 oz. bag of pretzels (I used the square waffle ones but use whatever shape you’d like)
- ~18 snack sized chocolate bars (milk chocolate or dark, your choice)
- 1/2 bag of marshmallows (~18 marshmallows)
- 1 1/2 bags candy melts, melted
- sprinkles (if desired)
Note: You may have extra pretzels, marshmallows, and chocolate melts leftover.
Prep: Line a shallow Pyrex (or other microwave safe dish) with wax or parchment paper. In addition, line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set both aside.
Prep the chocolate and marshmallows. Break the mini chocolate bars into 3-4 pieces, depending on the size and shape of your pretzels. Cut the marshmallows into 3 pieces.
Make the S’mores: In the Pyrex dish, place one layer of pretzels, leaving about an inch between each pretzel. Top with a piece of marshmallow and a piece of chocolate. Microwave for 10-20 seconds, until marshmallows puff up a little. Some of the chocolate may also start to melt. Remove from microwave and top with a second pretzel.
Allow pretzels to sit for a minute or two to set. Dip in melted chocolate melts and set on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes (or freeze for less time) until chocolate is set.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
I’ve never made Snickerdoodles before, but I’ve always considered them a Christmas cookie. That was the only time I’d ever really come across them, whether it’s at a cookie swap or someone bringing in a plate to work around the holidays. For me who never really had Snickerdoodles before, these cookies pair well with a cup of tea because of their slightly crunchy texture (I’ve never met a Snickerdoodle that was soft, unless it was microwaved) and their subtle cinnamon flavor.
So for you, and for my friend’s this past weekend, I made what I consider to be a Christmas classic. If you’re a blogger and would like to join in the fun, or a reader looking for more Christmas recipes to try, head over to Meal Planning Magic to sign up or peruse the rest of this week’s baking. Happy 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!
Adapted from Fine Cooking 68 (p. 86)
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies
- 1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 2/3 oz. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 + 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 c. granulated sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Lower speed and add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. When thoroughly combined, sprinkle in baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, and half of the flour. Beat on low speed until combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and sprinkle in remaining flour. Beat until combined.
- Scoop out a tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball, roll in cinnamon-sugar, and set on prepared baking sheet. Continue, setting dough 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to rest a few minutes on baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.
It’s been a while since I told you how much I love the recipes published in Fine Cooking magazine. It’s by far, my favorite cooking magazine out there. I’ve had a subscription for several years now and I rarely make a recipe that doesn’t come out as good as I hoped for.
This recipe is an oldie but a goodie. I made it for a couple of our holiday parties, and then again upon request for a friend’s Chrismukkah party. As a hostess, I love them because they can be made up to a month ahead of time and frozen. As a party-goer, I love Kahlua Truffle Triangles because they’re so rich and decadent, making them more like a truffle or candy than a bar cookie.
Want to spoil a loved one? Try these. (And hide a few in the freezer for yourself!)
Kahlua Truffle Triangles
Adapted from Fine Cooking No.82 p. 66
Makes approximately 5 dozen pieces
Ingredients for the Crust*:
- 6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 c.) all-purpose flour
- 3 oz. (3/4 c.) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 6 oz. (12 Tbs.) cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus more to grease the pan
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* Fine Cooking recommends measuring the ingredients for the crust by weight for best results. However, I included measurements as well, in case you don’t have a kitchen scale.
Ingredients for the Chocolatey Kahlua Goodness:
- 1 lb. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 c. whole or 2% milk
- 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
- 2-4 Tbs. Kahlua (I use closer to 4 Tbs.)
- Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the edge by an inch or two. Lightly butter and set aside.
- With a rack positioned in the center of the oven, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Make the crust: Place flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and vanilla, pulsing until the ingredients are just a bunch of crumbles. Turn dough out into prepared pan. (Do not add water, no matter how much you think it’s too dry.) Spread and press along bottom of the pan (not sides!) into a smooth even layer. The crumbles will press down and come together into a proper shortbread crust. Bake 20-25 minutes, until pale golden. Do not overbake or you will have a hard crust. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- As crust is cooling, lower temperature to 325°F and make the chocolate Kahlua layer.
- Set a medium bowl over simmering water. Melt the chocolate, milk, and butter together, stirring and whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- As the chocolate is cooling, combine eggs, sugar, and Kahlua in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until the color has lightened and mixture is slightly foamy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in chocolate mixture, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat for 30-60 seconds until completely combined.
- Pour the chocolate-Kahlua topping over crust in an even layer. Bake 25-30 minutes, until sides are slightly puffy and a toothpick inserted into the center is “wet and gooey but not liquid.” Allow to cool on a wire rack. (Center may sink a little bit – that’s ok. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’d like, while chocolate is still warm, push down on the elevated edges so that they sink to the same level as the center.)
- When completely cool, refrigerate until very cold, at least 12 hours or as much as 2 days.
- An hour or two before serving, remove bars from pan using the handy-dandy aluminum foil overhand. Peal away foil and place on a cutting board. Using a hot knife, slice bars into squares and then diagonally into triangles. Trust me, these are very rich so you want to cut them into triangles. Wipe knife clean, warming if necessary, in between each cut. If the triangles get too soft (as it did for me on this unusually warm spring day), refrigerate another 15 minutes before continue cutting.
When I was a kid, Ben and Jerry’s was all over the place. A special treat, I always got the same thing – chubby hubby ice cream in a cup, no toppings. Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and chocolate swirls. Salty-sweet. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
When I tell friends that Chubby Hubby was my favorite ice cream, most think I’m crazy. They’ve never heard of it, but once I describe it, they get on board pretty quickly. What’s not to like?
I’ve been thinking of chubby hubby-inspired desserts for a while now. (I have a recipe for cookies conjured up in my head, I just haven’t gotten a chance to experiment yet.) When I saw a recipe for Chubby Hubby Truffles, the recipe shot to the top of my list of recipes to try. My hubby and I love the peanut butter balls my mother-in-law makes every Christmas, and I knew we would love Chubby Hubby Truffles just as much. The below recipe is different that the peanut butter balls, but I would absolutely adapt that recipe to do just the same (it just makes a ton of truffles and I really didn’t want to be tempted with that much candy in the house!).
So with the recipe at the top of my list and two birthdays on the horizon, I whipped up a double batch. Hubby and I were not disappointed. In fact, it was a good thing that I photographed the truffles and packaged most of them up before the hubby got home for the night. He was eying the truffles on the kitchen table, looking at me and hoping that I’d give in and let him break into the packages. 🙂
Chubby Hubby Truffles
Adapted from Beantown Baker
Makes 18 truffles
- 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter, very soft
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 c. finely crushed pretzels
- 1/2 bag Wilton candy melts*
* In lieu of candy melts, you can use 1 c. semi-sweet or milk chocolates plus 1 Tbs. shortening.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set on the side.
- In a medium bowl with a wooden spoon, stir together peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined.
- Mix in pretzels, reserving 1-2 Tbs. of pretzels to sprinkle on top (if desired).
- Using a cookie scoop or two teaspoons, portion out peanut butter-pretzel mixture and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Microwave candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl at 30-second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Remove the peanut butter-pretzel balls from the fridge. With two forks, coat each with chocolate – rolling to coat completely and allowing extra chocolate to drip off. Place back on parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little crushed pretzels. (I sprinkled each truffle as I went, as the chocolate set quickly.)
- Refrigerate another 30 minutes to completely set chocolate before moving to an airtight container to store.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for as long as you can resist. 🙂
This toffee pretzel bark recipe is the third bark that I served at our holiday party last weekend. I love the salty-sweet combo featured in this bark (my mom used to send me chocolate covered pretzels in care packages throughout college). Like the other two barks, this is pretty quick and easy to make, and keeps very well.
The recipe was adapted from My Kitchen Addiction via BrownEyedBaker. The only change I made to the recipe was to increase the amount of white chocolate, as 7 oz. did not quite cover the dark chocolate layer. This change is reflected below.
Toffee Pretzel Bark
Makes 1 1/2 lbs. bark
- 14 oz. dark chocolate chips
- ¾ c. broken pretzel pieces, divided
- ¾ c. Heath toffee pieces, divided
- 9 oz. white chocolate chips
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a double broiler, melt dark chocolate. Stir in 1/2 c. pretzel pieces and toffee. Pour on prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until chocolate is set.
- When chocolate is set, set up the double broiler again. This time, melt white chocolate. Pour over dark chocolate layer, spreading until even. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. pretzel pieces and toffee, pressing the pieces down a little bit so that they stick. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes, until chocolate is set.
- Remove from fridge, and using the tip of a knife or a fork, break into pieces.
Store in an airtight contain in the fridge or at room temperature.
This is the second type of bark that I’ll be serving at this weekend’s holiday party. I’ve tried a bit the three and I think this is my favorite. I love the dark chocolate, the sweet marshmallows, and the crunch of the salted almonds. Not going to lie, I hope there are leftovers of this one!
Rocky Road Bark
Adapted from Bakers Royale
Yields an 8×8 or 9×9 pan
- 10 oz. good dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 c. coarsely chopped salted almonds
- 1 1/2 c. mini-marshmallows
- Line a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment or wax paper, letting it hang over the sides a little bit, and set aside.
- Melt chocolate in a double broiler until completely smooth. Stir in chopped almonds and marshmallows. Pour into prepared pan, evening out the top with a spatula.
- Refrigerate until solid, at least an hour. Break into pieces using the tip of a fork or knife, or cut into pieces with a sharp knife.